Christ, the Disturber of Men

By Donald Townsley

Men usually think of Christ as a peacemaker and a comforter to the soul, which is certainly true, but we have not fully seen Christ if we fail to see him as a disturber of men as well. He says in Matthew 10:34-36: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

1. Christ preached a disturbing message. He disturbed the complacent, self-satisfied religious leaders when he:

  • Rebuked them for their teaching and practice of the traditions and commandments of men (Matt. 15:1-3; 16:6, 12).
  • Rebuked them for their prejudiced hearts (Matt. 13:15).
  • Rebuked them for their religious inconsistency (Matt. 23:1-4).
  • Pronounced a “woe” upon them for taking “away the key of knowledge” (Luke 11:52; Matt. 23:13).
  • Pronounced a “woe” upon them for their religious pretense (Matt. 23:14, 27-28).
  • Pronounced a “woe” upon them for making proselytes to their opinions (Matt. 23:15).
  • Pronounced a “woe” upon them for their leaving undone “the weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23-24).
  • Pronounced a “woe” upon them for their making “clean the outside of the cup and platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” (Matt. 23:25, 26).

2. When Jesus preached his disturbing message, openly rebuking and denouncing their sins, the religious leaders reacted in an ugly and violent manner:

  • They called him names — a “Samaritan” (John 8:48).
  • They said he had a demon (John 8:48).
  • They claimed he performed miracles by the power of the devil (Matt. 12:22-24).
  • They challenged his authority (Matt. 21:23-27).
  • They took up stones to cast at him (John 8:59).
  • They accused him of blasphemy (John 10:33).
  • They sought to kill him (John 7:1).
  • They finally had him crucified (Matt. 26:3, 4; 27:1-2, 24-26, 34-35).

3. Christ not only preached a disturbing message, he asked disturbing questions:

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? (Matt. 5:47).

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matt. 7:3).

Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matt. 16:13).

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26).

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).

4. Christ not only preached a disturbing message and asked disturbing questions, he set disturbing standards.

For the home — his marriage law. He taught that it was God’s will from the beginning for one man to be married to one woman — a one-flesh relationship that God has joined together and that man is not to put asunder (Matt. 19:4-6; Gen. 2:24). He intended for this to be a permanent relation- ship. He taught that there is only one reason for divorce and remarriage — fornication (Matt. 19:3-12). Only the innocent party has a right to divorce the guilty party, for this reason, and remarry.

Husband. He is to be head of his wife (Eph. 5:23), to love her as his own body (Eph. 5:25, 28-29), to provide for his family (1 Tim. 5:8), and to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

Wife. She is to love her husband, to love her children, to be a keeper at home and to be obedient to her own husband (Tit. 2:3-5).

Children. They are to obey and honor their parents (Eph. 6:1-2; Col. 3:20).

For his Disciples.

  • Christ and his church must come first in their lives (Matt. 6:33).
  • Christ must come before the family (Matt. 10:34-37).
  • They must love one another (John 13:34-35).
  • They must correct their sins against one another (Matt. 5:23-24; 18:15-17).

For Worship.

Worship is to be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The Lord authorized five items of worship:

  • The Lord’s supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
  • Giving of our means on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1, 2).
  • Singing praises to God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
  • Prayer (Acts 2:42).
  • Teaching (Acts 2:42; 20:7). Worship that is not in spirit and in truth (according to truth) is vain worship (Matt. 15:9).

You can see from this study that Christ is a disturber of men when they are in their sins. He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Men have to become disturbed about their sins before they will do anything about them, so Christ deliberately preached a disturbing message that he might turn them from their sins that they might be saved and serve him. Christ wants gospel preachers today to preach this same message so that people will be disturbed about their sins and turn from them to serve him (2 Tim. 4:2).

One of the sad things in the church today is that members no longer want to hear the disturbing message of Christ. They “will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:3). They want to hear “fables” (2 Tim. 4:4), or a “felt-need gospel” that builds up their ego and deals with interpersonal relationships. They want a religion of entertainment and/or a positive message which soothes them in their sins. They want the preacher to preach “Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14)! The lust in the pew for such a message has given us preachers in the pulpit who will preach the kind of message the people crave (2 Tim. 4:3), and many of God’s people “love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31)!

Brother Preacher, is your preaching patterned after the preaching of Christ, the disturber of men? Or is your preaching simply the kind that satisfies the lust in the pew (2 Tim. 4:3, 4)? Preaching that is patterned after the disturber of men will save men from hell! Preaching that satisfies the lusts of men will damn the preacher and those who hear him! Brother, could Christ preach where you worship?